The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules


“The laws, including the True Laws, only apply to citizens.” Vellius explains. It’s a bit hard to keep track of the boy. He moves briskly, purposefully, hesitating only at junctions as you walk together through the massive building. What was this one called, again? The names were all draconic, and without translation to give them meaning they tended to blur together. “So, strictly speaking, The City has no relationship with the entity you call Luciva.”

“What, that’s not her name?” Kallen asks, incredulous. Whatever hook he was looking for, that wasn’t it.

“No no, it’s the only one she goes by. Her True Name may be on record in the Menagerie, though.” the blue-haired man offers. Strange how Vellius seems to grow older or younger as you consider him. In silence he is wide-eyed, curious, uncertain. When he speaks it is with practiced assertiveness, an authority not…internal. Borne of association.

A competent beta.

Kallen shakes out his head, trying, trying not to think like that, and failing. Whatever. He’d sort out his own brain later. There were answers in reach. “The Menagerie?” He considered Razerfang, and was briefly absorbed with the thought it may be considering him in return.

“A…storage system, of sorts, for certain entities that survived the inward migration. Those deemed non-sentient but useful. Or those that it would be…morally indefensible to leave to their own devices. The scope of the project does include some sentient creatures.” Vellius indicated a right turn, and they took it together, not breaking stride.

“You’re holding sentients?” the Inspector in Kallen screamed the word “Criminal!”, but he kept his mouth shut for the moment.

“Non-citizens.” Vellius clarifies. “I know, it doesn’t sound right…” the boy’s voice trails off into uncertainty as he leads Kallen through an archway into a vaulted room. The space beyond is filled with an amount of books, and therefore knowledge, sufficient to make the Inspector somewhat nervous. The kaleidoscope of men and women at long tables glance at the pair of them, especially raising a brow at Kallen’s plain hair, but seem content to tend to their own business. Vellius consults a tome, then a shelf, then scales a ladder. Kallen waits. The dogs wait. Outside, of course, at Vellius’ insistence. Leonard tried not to be insulted for them. It’s not like they’re going to find anywhere in here to piss.

Vellius descends the ladder, a scroll tucked under one arm. “Sorry. This probably isn’t what you’re looking for. The Menagerie is in Rast, so we don’t have access to their full records. Do you have an account with them?”

“Not a wizard.” Kallen says, not apologetic in the slightest “Never had the need. What’s in the scroll?”

“Use protocols. Here.” Vellius rolls open the scroll on a nearby table. A man who was, apparently, building towers out of the books and only reading them when one of the towers accidentally collapsed into his hands, scowls at their presence taking up the corner of his workspace and goes back to sleep. Vellius jabs at the paper with a finger. “Luciva. No other names associated with her. An account requires black-level clearance to summon her, and special dispensation from the Menagerie itself. Strange. Probably because the account holder who had her put into the system wants to be warned if her services are needed by a third party.”

“…she’s an assassin.” Kallen says flatly. “Kills citizens? Criminal? I didn’t expect you to just up and admit she’s out on…parole of some sort. It sure isn’t for good behavior.”

“Well…” Vellius seems like he’s going to start an argument, but at a frown from Kallen the administrator throws up his hands defensively. “I’m not going to argue that. It’s your job to enforce laws, not mine. Just two things to note, here.”

“First, she’s not technically criminal because she’s not technically a citizen…understand? If not, you’ll need to talk to your friends, the cult-hunter and the wizard will probably have a better grip on exactly what I mean. She’s not ensouled in the strictest sense. More like one of your dogs.”

Kallen glances at the dogs. They’re straining to keep track of him over all the tables, without moving from where they sit.

“Second, if she’s black-level clearance then the list of people that can summon her is going to be very short.”

“How short?” Kallen asks, still frowning. “Are we talking under a hundred?”

“Probably under ten.” Vellius says, and is surprised to see the Inspector smile.

“The Menagerie keeps track of summoning?” he asks, and only smiles wider at the response.



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